Antiviral therapy for hepatitis C: Has anything changed for pregnant/lactating women?

World J Hepatol. 2016 Apr 28;8(12):557-65. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v8.i12.557.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects about 3% of the world's population, with the highest prevalence in individuals under 40. The prevalence in pregnant women varies with geographical distribution (highest in developing countries). Prevalence also increases in sub-populations of women at high risk for blood-transmitted infections. HCV infection in pregnancy represents a non-negligible problem. However, most of the past antiviral regimens cannot be routinely offered to pregnant or breastfeeding women because of their side effects. We briefly reviewed the issue of treatment of HCV infection in pregnant/breastfeeding women focusing on the effects of the new direct-acting antivirals on fertility, pregnancy and lactation in animal studies and on the potential risk for humans based on the pharmacokinetic properties of each drug. Currently, all new therapy regimens are contraindicated in this setting because of lack of sufficient safety information and adequate measures of contraception are still routinely recommended for female patients of childbearing potential.

Keywords: Antiviral therapy; Breastfeeding woman; Direct-acting antivirals; Hepatitis C virus infection; Pregnancy category.

Publication types

  • Review